The best part of vinyl isn’t the sound. It’s the entire experience: Big, fragile records, real liner notes, covers you want to frame and hang on your wall, and, of course, the way the stylus spins across the jagged surface, reproducing your favorite bands’ music as if by magic.
Maybe you’re like WIRED senior associate editor Julian Chokkattu, who owned a record but no turntable. Maybe you’ve always been interested but don’t know where to start. Maybe you were at a buddy’s house (in the before times) and got jealous of their setup. No problem: You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to play your favorite records. There are tons of affordable and great turntables, most of which plug into your existing stereo or powered speakers. I’ve tested quite a few, and these are my current favorites, from utilitarian classics to more luxe turntables for audiophile-grade sound.
Be sure to check out our other guides, including the Best Gear for Learning Music and the Best Podcasting Gear.
Updated October 2020: We’ve added the new Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo.